December 10, 2019

Partnership and collaboration with the goal for better health outcomes and improved quality of life for Canadians living with MS

Mississauga, Ontario, December 10, 2019 – Biogen Canada is pleased to see the Government of Alberta invest $1 million in the Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in Multiple Sclerosis (CanProCo). As a founding partner of CanProCo, we are pleased to see government collaboration and support to better understand the mechanisms involved in multiple sclerosis (MS). This study, developed and funded in partnership with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada,  the Brain Canada Foundation and Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche Canada), brings together institutions and expert principal investigators from across Canada under one umbrella to develop a unique data platform that will be used to help better understand MS and how it affects Canadians. The over-arching objective of the CanProCo study is to evaluate the different aspects of progression in MS, for a better understanding of mechanisms of progression, identification of risk factors, and developing markers that can assist in patient care, including markers that can better predict how people will do over time.

“Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world and we need to have partnerships like these, which bring together different sectors like government, industry and non-profit organizations, to combat this disease,” said Dr. Pamela Valentine, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada. “As an Albertan myself, it gives me great pleasure to see the province of Alberta join us in our mission to have a world free of MS.”

As a pioneer in neuroscience research, Biogen Canada understands the importance of research and development that supports optimal treatment care and improved patient outcomes. CanProCo is an important research project and Biogen Canada is proud to support be a founding partner. Nearly 50 leading MS researchers from diverse fields of study, from epidemiology to neuroimaging to immunology are taking part in this five-year project — the first of its kind in Canada — led by Dr Jiwon  Oh, MD, a neurologist and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Their goal is to collect neuroimmunology, imaging data and health services data by engaging 1,000 Canadian MS patients to better understand the mechanisms involved in MS progression.

“Canada has one of the highest incident rates of MS in the world. And Alberta has one of the highest incident rates of MS in Canada – about 340 out of every 100,000 Albertans are diagnosed with MS. In Canada, we also have internationally recognized research leaders in neuroscience and supporting their efforts is our passion, privilege and commitment,” said Marina Vasilou, Vice-President, Managing Director at Biogen Canada. “The knowledge gained from CanProCo will equip us with better treatment strategies and lay the groundwork for better health treatments for Canadians, such as Albertans living with MS.”  


Background on the Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in MS (CanProCo)

Progression – or the steady worsening of disease, resulting in increased disability – is a challenging reality faced by people affected by MS. While major advances have been made in MS research over the last 30 years, the mechanism of progression and the ways in which researchers and clinicians can track progression are still not fully understood. The CanProCo study can inform on how those living with MS manage and understand their illness from diagnosis and throughout the various stages of the disease. This study will look at progression from the biological, physical, and socioeconomic perspectives, and will engage people living with MS so that their individual experiences are captured. Ultimately, the goal of the cohort is to connect biological findings with real world and clinical findings to create a comprehensive picture of progression in MS, with the hope that researchers will better understand the unpredictable nature of MS to support in finding a cure.

The Government of Alberta joins founding partners Brain Canada Foundation, which receives financial support from Health Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund, Biogen Canada and the MS Society of Canada, as well as Hoffmann-La Roche Limited (Roche Canada). The MS Society is grateful to lead donors, PCL Construction and Bennett Jones LLP for their generous support, as well as to several individuals who made significant contributions. 

About Biogen

At Biogen, our mission is clear: we are pioneers in neuroscience. Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Kenneth Murray, and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp, and today has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and is focused on advancing neuroscience research programs in MS and neuroimmunology, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, movement disorders, neuromuscular disorders, acute neurology, neurocognitive disorders, pain, and ophthalmology. Biogen also commercializes biosimilars of advanced biologics.


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Natacha Raphael
+1 289-795-5614